Why Clean Beauty Matters

If you are familiar with PREP Your Skin products, you know that they are all sulfate-free, paraben-free and phthalate-free. But, do you know what that really means? Do you know why we want our products to be free of those ingredients? 

At PREP Your Skin, we believe in a world where everyone has beautiful, flawless skin. Skin without dryness. Clear skin without acne. We believe in a world with fewer diseases, less infertility, and no birth defects. And we believe in a world where people can feel confident about the products that they’re using in their everyday lives.

Sulfates

Years ago, when I was just getting ready to graduate high school, I first heard about Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS). I remember being incorrectly told that SLS in shampoos can cause cancer. That basically scared the bejesus out of me. I said to myself, “Why on earth would anyone put something in our shampoo that can cause cancer?” A few days later, I just so happened to be at the health store with my mom who was picking up some vitamins when I saw a shampoo that had a sticker on the front that said, “Sulfate Free.” I stopped,. grabbed it and asked my mom if I could get it. My mom agreed, albeit begrudgingly. From that day forward, I became interested in learning about the ingredients in our products and what the ingredients do or don’t do for us. 

As I started doing more research, I quickly realized that this was something I was truly passionate about. I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about what ingredients were safe and which ones might be more toxic. But, back in the day when I first became interested in all of this, the information wasn’t as prevalent as it is today. Neither were safe products. A lot of the nontoxic beauty products were pretty darn terrible. Of course, I did find some that I loved, but they were few and far between. 

I quickly learned from my research that what I initially heard about SLS causing cancer was actually a myth. Thank goodness. That made me feel better. But at the same time, I learned that sulfates can actually be a skin irritant. This makes no sense. Why use a skin irritant in products that go on your skin?? 

SLS is also known as sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. It is a chemical commonly found in skincare products like:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Bar soap
  • Bubble bath
  • Cleansers
  • Even toothpaste!

Sulfates are a chemical used to create foam (think sudsy bubbles!). Sulfates are a known skin irritant and can be especially irritating for anyone with eczema, dry skin, or sensitive skin. Using products that contain sulfates may cause dry and itchy skin, flare-up eczema, and even interfere with acne. If you don’t have sensitive skin, sulfates likely won’t have negative side effects on your skin, but it can be drying. But here at PREP Your Skin, we like to be inclusive of everyone, so we have chosen to make all of our products sulfate-free.  

Parabens

Parabens are used as preservatives in a vast number of cosmetic products and have been a common staple in tons and tons of beauty products for the last several decades. They help to keep products from growing mold or bacteria or even going rancid. Parabens are a chemist’s BFF because they truly are one of the best preservatives. That all sounds like a match made in heaven, right?? Not so fast. 

Parabens are believed to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they disrupt hormones. This can cause reproductive and fertility problems, increase the risk of cancer and even affect birth outcomes. They also can cause skin irritation. According to the Environmental Working Group, personal care products are the greatest contributors to paraben exposure, as seen in studies comparing paraben levels in the bodies of women, men, adolescents and children who regularly use cosmetics and those who do not. To recognize an ingredient as a paraben, it will have the word “paraben” tacked on at the end, like methylparaben and butylparaben (just to name 2. There are lots more).

We want to make sure we aren’t contributing to the potentially awful effects that parabens can cause. We aren’t willing to take any chances. We have made a conscious decision to make sure that all of our products are paraben-free. Fortunately, there are other amazing preservatives out there like phenoxyethanol and tocopherol (Vitamin E!) that don’t have known health risks like parabens, so we choose to use theose safe preservatives in our products. 

Phthalates

According to the CDC, “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers.” Hmm… You might be asking yourself if you just understood correctly that the phthalates have to do with plastic. You might next ask yourself then why are phthalates in beauty products and cosmetics. That is another very good question.

Phthalates are used as a solvent in cosmetics and other consumer products, especially in the medical world (IV bags and other medical devices made from PVC). However, in recently published studies with laboratory animals unrelated to PREP Your Skin, scientists have discovered that high exposure to phthalates may damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. It has even caused these animals to have early-onset puberty. 

We aren’t in the business of taking chances when it comes to our health and the health of our loved ones (that includes you too). So, we are and will remain Phthalate Free. It’s just not worth it.
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Regulation

A lot of you are probably asking how these ingredients can still be on the market when they are known to cause such issues. It’s sad actually. In a nutshell, the beauty industry in the United States is basically unregulated. The last time a piece of regulation was passed in our government concerning beauty products was in 1938. Yup. Eighty-two years ago. And, we might add that the regulation that passed was a single page. Just 1 page. We know so much more today than we did 82 years ago. But because there aren’t any new regulations, companies are free to use whatever ingredients they want – toxic or nontoxic.

Recently, Beautycounter’s CEO testified as an expert witness at a congressional hearing on cosmetic reform. This is only the 2nd time in 40 years that there has been a hearing like this focused on personal care product safety. Time will tell as to what will happen to standards for beauty products in the United States but we are so excited that conversations are starting to happen. 

When you use PREP Your Skin products, we want you to feel confident in knowing that if there is an ingredient we wouldn’t use on ourselves or on our own children, then we absolutely will not put that ingredient into any of our products. You have our word. Every single time with every single product. It’s our promise to you and our world’s future. 


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